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Help map racist violence


IRR, mapping racist violence, post Brexit racism, For history teaches us that open hostility unchecked can quickly morph into something much worse.

After years and years of struggle against racial hostility to new migrant communities, we are back there again – albeit post Brexit, which, seemingly, has taken the shame out of racism.

And now, just like in the 1970s, communities up and down the country are experiencing an upsurge in racist and fascist violence.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) wants to help organisations at the grassroots by building up a national picture.

Can you help, by sending regular updates about what is happening in your community?

Even before the contest was started, it was clear that the EU referendum would embolden racists and encourage violence against migrants and BAME communities.

Immigration was always going to take centre-stage, given the way that the anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism and anti-EU slant of the tabloid press had been feeding Nigel Farage’s UKIP for at least a decade.

Nor could anyone be surprised that politicians (with a few honourable exceptions), whether Leavers or Remainers, were prepared to swim in the same tide.

The rest is well known.

Ever since the referendum result was announced on 24 June, acts of hostility and violence have taken place in every part of the country.

Police data suggests that there was an immediate 57 per cent increase in reported incidents in the four days after the referendum.

But the IRR’s first review of the national picture suggests that police figures are a substantial under-estimate.

On social media people are describing incidents of hostility and racial abuse across the country where perpetrators taunt passers-by on buses, on the streets, in workplaces, or from the safety of their vehicles, with comments like ‘get packing’, ‘white power’, ‘time for you to leave’ or ‘get out, we voted Leave’.

These incidents are most probably not reported and most certainly not prosecuted.

History teaches us that if such open hostility goes unchecked, it can quickly morph into something much worse.

And there have also been numerous reports of physical assaults and attacks on BAME-run businesses and cultural centres.

The IRR’s first week of national monitoring suggests that those behind this outpouring of vile abuse are overwhelmingly white men; their victims are firstly migrants from eastern Europe, followed by those from BAME communities.

The IRR will also note the number of incidents reported to have taken place in schools, where children have been taunted and ridiculed by their classmates – and has already written to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to discuss what can be done about this.

But in order to do this most effectively, your input is needed.

Send the IRR links to stories in local media, or, simply, write to them, telling them about incidents that you have witnessed.

The Post Ref Racism’s facebook page and #PostRefRacism is also collating incidents.

And the Guardian recently released a short video outlining what you can do if you encounter racial violence.

Despite the shocking tales, there are others: all around the country, ordinary people are doing their best to make migrant communities and others under threat feel supported. We can build on that.

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